When James-Dean earned the scholarship, she enrolled at Central Texas College, which has a satellite campus in the District.
On school days, she wakes up at 4:15 a.m. to take the Metro from Rockville to her work, on the edge of the District’s Washington Highlands neighborhood, so she can use the computer to do homework before the children arrive.
She spends the next eight hours reading stories, changing diapers and playing chase and “ring around the table we go” with toddlers.
By 4 p.m., she’s headed for the Metro again to a child-care center on the other side of the city, where classes go to 9:15 p.m.
Is she going to school so she can get a better job than changing diapers? No, she’s going to school so she can work a job….changing diapers. D.C. created a mandate that daycare workers must have associate’s degrees. Associate’s rather than bachelor’s, because they aren’t completely insane(quote marks added):
In sum, the report says, “teachers” of infants and toddlers require the same level of sophisticated knowledge and skills expected of elementary educators and they should likewise be expected to have bachelor’s degrees.
At the same time, the report urges policymakers to use caution when increasing minimum credentials, to avoid unintended consequences, including workforce shortages, reduced diversity in the profession and pressure on out-of-pocket costs for families.
The District set the minimum credential for lead “teachers” as an associate degree, rather than a bachelor’s,(….)
There is a government-funded scholarship to help current “teachers” pay for their education, but it doesn’t compensate them for the time investment. James-Dean is happy about the “self-improvement” that college provides, but this was not a universal reaction, one of her co-workers has already left due to the requirement. And James-Dean’s story has not reached the happy ending yet, as “counseling and tutoring helped her get through two tough English classes, and she is bracing herself for the math classes she needs to take.” Due presumably to the time requirement, some have chosen online programs they have to pay for themselves. These programs make cheating easier, but also ease the process of bill collecting, one woman found that she was locked out of her courses until she finished paying her bill.
The article also notes that:
(…)the scholarship reduces turnover, a serious challenge for the field. For every year that an employer supports an employee’s education, the employee must commit to another year of work.
I’m sure the employees just love that. Because turnover is bad, don’t you know? How can we see it from any perspective other than the employer’s?
The end result of all this is more jobs which don’t create any value for society, paid for by taxpayer monies and making daycare more expensive. But there’s a good chance this mandate may not ever be enforced. It doesn’t take effect until 2020, and the New Republic claims that “their[sic] will be a waiver for longtime employees who can make the case that getting a degree isn’t feasible for them.” If by the time 2020 rolls around half the workers haven’t completed their degrees yet, they may decide to extend that waiver to everyone. They won’t repeal it, though, these aren’t people who ever admit to making mistakes.
In the meantime, damage has already been done, with at least one worker quitting her job due to the requirement. There will be many more.